Need Salad Advice

bubblesort

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I've been dieting and exercising pretty hard. I lost 10 lbs in 3 weeks, from cutting calories and running on the treadmill. After experimenting below 1k calories a day, and increasing the numbers when that didn't work, and going up and down, I found that I'm comfortable around 1200-1500 calories a day. I know that's low, but it seems to work for me, even on days I do 2 one hour runs on the treadmill.

The only problem I've had so far is that I always have a salad for lunch, and salads got super boring last week. Really, really boring. I'd rather do another run than eat another salad. Eventually, I'm going to rather be fat than eat a salad.

I've never really been a salad person, so I'm thinking I can probably fix this by putting different things in it? Here's what I put in it now:

Spinach / Spring Mix
Sliced Onions and Peppers
A little bit of shredded cheddar
One small can of tuna. The tiny 56g cans, that come in 3 packs. They're like 70 calories each
Two tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette dressing (one serving)

This fits my diet great. It comes out to between 200-250 calories, depending on how big I make it, and at first it tasted great. I just don't want to eat it any more.

What should I put in my lunch salad to make it better? I totally have room to increase the calorie count, if it makes me hate salads less.
 

Pancake

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I eat a lot of salads, so maybe some of these will work.

I find taco salad can be made fairly low calorie, but feels decadent. Prepare lean ground beef with a package of taco seasoning. Portion it out into single serve containers that fit your calorie goals, they even freeze well and microwave easily. A simple lettuce and tomato salad, with warmed taco meat added on top, dressed with some salsa feels like a treat. You can add sour cream or cheese if you like, but the calories from dairy can add up.

A marinated greek salad is great because you can make a batch in advance and it gets better as it sits in the fridge. Large cubes of cucumber, onion, tomato, black olives, feta and a greek seasoned or olive oil based dressing.

Buffalo Chicken salad is my current kick. Left over chicken diced or pulled, a grocery store rotisserie chicken is perfect for this, mixed with Frank's Hot Sauce and finely diced celery and over a bed of spinach or spring mix. Add ranch or blue cheese dressing to really get the buffalo wing experience.

Eggs are a great addition to salad, either boiled and sliced, or make egg salad and serve over greens.
 
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Plurabelle Laszlo

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Tomatos, arugula, iceberg lettuce, kidney beans, sliced white or red cabbage, grain of maize, fresh mushrooms, radich, a boiled egg.... endless variations Instead of cheddar try fresh mozzarella or feta

And experiment with fruit, too.
one of my favorites: tomato-pomegranate salad with or without feta. I don't have a real recipe, just dice lots of tomatoes (preferably different sizes and colors), maybe some red pepper, marinade with vinaigrette (maybe on the sweeter side, balsamico is fine) and add some herbs like oregano, maybe crushed garlic - and the seeds of one pomegranate. Feta is optional.

Or you put the feta into a watermelon / olive / feta / green things salad. Dice watermelon, add black olives (can be marinated with garlic and herbs or not), mix with a lot of fresh basil leaves, maybe baby spinach, and (important) - a handful of mint leaves.

Pears and camembert with any kind of green lettuce or spinach make a great combination, too

tuna plus onions and diced apple with a bit of garlic

and roasted pine nuts pimp up every salad, especially tomato-salads.
 

Pancake

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And don't rule out unconventional or non lettuce based "salads", like a pasta/rice/couscous salad, or a bean salad.

I make the laziest cheapest bean salad you can imagine, and it keeps for days.

The core of the recipe is:

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can garbanzo beans (chick peas), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced bell pepper (any colour will do)
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
Salt and Pepper to taste

From there, depending what I have on hand or what flavour I'm craving, I might add corn and black beans and a bit of cilantro and lime juice, or I might add green beans and yellow wax beans.

The dressing is usually equal portions of oil and vinegar, whichever oil or vinegar you prefer the taste of, but I find using a packaged oil and vinegar dressing or vinaigrette works just as well.

Edit to add - I actually keep a can of this 6 bean mix from Walmart in my pantry. Great Value No Salt Added Six Bean Mix Can | Walmart Canada

On a lazy day when it's too hot to cook, I can open it, rinse thoroughly in cold water, and drain to dry. Add in diced veggies and some oil and vinegar, chill for an hour, and you have a meal.
 
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Pancake

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I never thought of taco salad as low cal. Must be the deep fried tortilla bowl I love.
Very true! Normally they aren't low cal, but with a few modifications they can definitely fit but they feel like a cheat meal. A little seasoned lean ground beef goes a long way in a big bowl of lettuce and salsa.

It's the sour cream that kills me LOL taco salad is just a vehicle for sour cream.
 

Soen Eber

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Play with different proteins - standards like chicken and low fat ham, or different lentils and starchy vegetables like peas & corn, or even cottage cheese with fruit. Also try different cheeses like mozerella (what string cheese is made from). Balance it out with a sandwich half, healthy crackers, or soup if desired.

Tuna fish is really easy to get bored with. I often find myself craving ONE tuna fish sandwich, and that's it for a couple weeks. For me, tuna is the anti-Dorito.
 

Isabeau

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What everyone suggested. Also, whatever you enjoy on rice or pasta is often good on a lettuce bed. If you can make a low calorie stir fry using lots of veggies, a protein, and spices, it tastes great and is filling on a large bed of lettuce. Warm salads are a thing.
 

Plurabelle Laszlo

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for inspiration:

ETA: No, don't believe that ad, you don't have to buy 'hard to find Ottolenghi-ingredients'. If anything is unfamiliar - Just use spices and herbs you have at home - strange syrups can be replaced by maple syrup or honey or a bit of sugar or fruit juice; you dont need salted lemon (though I love it) or exotic vegetables. I think most of these recipes arent complicated at all or can just be altered to your own taste
 
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Pancake

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I apparently feel really eager to talk about salad after a night/day of election-stress. And I am not even American.
I eagerly embrace any topic distraction, I'm currently browsing the internet for shoe lace recommendations because mine are too slippery or something and keep coming undone.
 

Soen Eber

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I eagerly embrace any topic distraction, I'm currently browsing the internet for shoe lace recommendations because mine are too slippery or something and keep coming undone.
A part of the lace used for tying gets worn down and slippery is all - just adjust the lacing so you are tying at a different part of the lace. I am assuming the laces are old and they used to lace properly when new
 
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Pancake

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A part of the lace used for tying gets worn down and slippery is all - just adjust the lacing so you are tying at a different part of the lace. I am assuming the laces are old and they used to lace properly when new
No, that's the weird thing, these shoes are only a couple months old but they've been like this since day 1, I'll be walking and suddenly both laces are untied.
 

Jopsy Pendragon

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I make a tuna salad sandwich with diced Green olives, onions, with a dash of spicy mustard and plain hummus (no mayo because I don't do egg products), but it works well on a diced bed of butterleaf or arugula as well, especially with those tiny cherry tomatoes. I hate stuffing whole leaves in my mouth so I usually shred or chop the lettuce up.

I get a salmon / octopus / ginger / avocado / seaweed / ponzu salad with seasame oil as take-out from a nearby place regularly (there's a variety of 'poke' style restaurants around), sometimes do half-rice/half-salad instead. No clue what the calorie count is, but it's very satisfying.
 
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eku zhong

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tofu salad. One of my favorites.
Just use any kind of baby leaf you like... any kind of sprout you like, I like daikon sprouts or alfalfa sprouts ... some young spinach leaves, thinly shaved radish... lettuce of your choice or not ..tomato or not. and top with cubed silken tofu (or if you can get it the proper kinukoshi tofu)
Dressing can either be sesame oil, rice vinegar and a dash of soy sauce or you can go yuzu and soy sauce.. or just straight up yuzu.
Sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds and enjoy. (shredded nori (seaweed) or hair fine dried chili is another optional extra)
But basically you can throw cubed tofu in with any kind of salad.
Its also good with cubed avocado and cubed raw tuna (that you have marinated a little in soy sauce and mirin before hand) This eaten over rice comes close to Poke style.

And if you can get a sesame dressing then pair it with steamed and shredded chicken tenders and any kind of salad veg you like.
The combinations are endless.






 
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